Viral Marketing

Written by Linda Alexander
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Viral marketing is another word for word of mouth advertising, or buzz. Generally, viral marketing can be provoked, if two requirements are met. You first need a product that is contagious, and you also need somebody at your company who can generate buzz and get the viral marketing campaign going. Marketing this way allows your product to spread, like a virus, through the marketplace.

Viral marketing is no different from other marketing programs in that it requires a plan. You can do a plan for an individual marketing campaign; you should also include the virus in your overall strategic marketing plan. How you choose to launch the campaign is up to you. Be sure to include in your plans ways that your customers will share the product and talk about it with others; that is at the heart of the marketing virus.

Launching a Viral Marketing Campaign

Using unusual (for you) channels to market is an easy way to get attention. If you are a web company, using offline promotions is more likely to get noticed simply because it is not your usual way of doing things. But will it spread through word of mouth? The best way to get the virus to spread is by making it easy for customers to tell their friends about you.

Offer an incentive reward to each person who refers a friend to your new product. Or, organize an online forum where people can talk about your product. You might also put a tagline on your product, like Hotmail did in their email signature, which advertised their free email service. Consumers read messages with the tagline at the bottom and learned about the service for themselves. This way, consumers don't have to work hard to be rewarded, and you product is guaranteed to be spread around the marketplace by word of mouth.

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